It was the year 1977, I had just graduated from Secondary School and my dream was to be my own boss and start a hairdressing/beauty salon. I was not really the academic type and I knew what I wanted. I wasn’t dull but I just didn’t want post-secondary education…I actually passed my ‘School Cert’ (like we called it back then). My mum enrolled me with a friend of hers to learn the skills required for this ‘dream’.
My dad was not really in support because I was the only girl, the last child and all my older siblings/brothers were in various institutions of higher learning and he wanted me to at least get a National Diploma even if I wasn’t going to work with it. My mum stood by me and somehow got my dad on board…he wasn’t going to pay for the training at first, but he later did.
About a year after I started with “Aunty Betty” (My mum’s friend that was training me), I met one of her nephews, Tunji. He was a student of the Yaba College of Technology in Lagos…they were out of school due to the ‘Ali Must Go’ riots and had come to see her aunt. I was the only one at the salon when he came in…I was wondering what a man was doing at beauty shop, he greeted me with a smile and that was it. I couldn’t get that smile out of my head. He was soft spoken and very intelligent, he had asked me some questions about school and when I told him my plans, he said it was a wise one because there was nothing as fulfilling as following one’s passion in life. Aunty Betty officially introduced us when she arrived at the salon….I must have made an impression on him as well because he kept coming to the salon everyday till it was time to go back to his school. He would hang around and crack jokes…he was really hilarious. At a point, Aunty Betty had to ask what we were up to…she would say jokingly that she was totally in support, if we planned to take our friendship to the next level, to which Tunji would smile and I would pretend not to understand what she was talking about.
I wasn’t that experienced in relationship stuff…the only boy that ever claimed he was my boyfriend back in high school got a beating of his life when two of my brothers caught up with him (the benefits/woes of being an only girl with 4 big brothers). These were the same guys that would switch girls like they were disposable plates but their sister was off limits to all the boys in the neighborhood.
Tunji left after the schools were reopened and I thought that was it…after all; he never said he wanted to date me, although he was always coming to the salon all through his stay. At first I had expected him to say something but when he left, without words, I assumed he was just a friendly guy that wanted to spend time with me and his aunt. The day he left for school, he sent me a letter through his aunt but because I did not want to read it in her presence I put it in my pocket, when I got home I put it under a pile of clothes in my wardrobe but completely forgot about it.
There was a day I told Aunty Betty I wouldn’t be at the Salon because I had some errands to run for my mum. It must have been about 3 weeks after Tunji left…when I got home from where my mum sent me, he was in our house. He was in the sitting room with two of my brothers and they seemed to be having a wonderful time. They were talking and laughing…I was shocked to see him.
He later told me he came from school to collect some money from his aunt and would be around for a couple of day…he checked at the Salon and was told I didn’t come, Aunty Betty gave him my home address and he wanted to surprise me. I was more of afraid than surprised because my dad was home and I didn’t know what his reaction would be after Tunji left. It was the first time any boy came to look for me…I was about 20 years old then and my dad still saw me as a kid
Written by: Mr Spicer
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